How to Effectively Promote a Vacation Rental Property

The word “promotion” sometimes brings up ideas like flash sales, a discount campaign, or cheeky give-away. Has the promise of a deep discount by buying in the next hour or a branded tote been the reason you rushed to make an expensive purchase? Probably not. 


It’s no different with the short-term rental market, where consumers research carefully before booking a rental. Marketing a vacation rental using discounts or freebies is not the magic answer to win more bookings. Instead, learn how to promote vacation rental properties using best practices.

#1 – Define your target audience

One reason people leave poor reviews is the short-term rental failed to meet their expectations. Avoid negative rental reviews by matching the property to a target audience. Research who’s travelling and booking short-term rentals in your area – business travellers, people with pets, millennials, people with extended families, and so on. 


How to promote a vacation rental property to a business traveller is different from a family with children. Your title, description, photos, and marketing strategies should be tailored to the target audience.


Targeted marketing may seem limiting, but remember the vacation rental market is saturated with properties. Tailoring a short-term rental to that traveller’s particular needs differentiates the listing, makes it more discoverable and entices guests to book with you.

#2 – Put your property on listing channels

You can’t drive traffic without adding the vacation rental to a listing site like Airbnb and HomeAway. Promoting on vacation rental sites like Airbnb is critical because they are where short-term rentals guests go to find a place to stay. It’s step one to getting the rental in front of people actively searching for you.


However, don’t limit yourself to one listing channel. Being available on as many websites as possible is how to promote a vacation rental property to the masses. Do add the property to several platforms and on local vacation rental platforms. 

#3 – Optimize your listing to stand out

A stellar title and description matched with professional photos and videos not only sell the property to a potential guest, but they gain more web traffic. 


The title is what lures people to click through. Write the title with the target audience in mind. For example, attract travellers with pets with a title like “Pet-Friendly Villa Near Dog Park.”  Or, for business travellers, try, “Quiet downtown condo near transit.” Experiment with a few different versions to see which resonates best. 


The description sells vacation rental. Detail the specific amenities the rental offers aligned to your target audience. Do talk about the surrounding area and its amenities. People like to know the proximity to attractions or essential stores. 


While the title and description optimization are essential, what really wins guests are the photos and videos. High-quality images make the profile attractive while illustrating to the potential guest the experience of staying there. A professional photographer is best at capturing crisp and promotable images.


#4 – Use social media and forums to attract your target audience 

Vacation rentals that create interest and web traffic promote outside listing platforms. Study how to promote vacation rental property using Instagram and other social media sites through paid media and organic discovery. The best social promotions use quality photos of the short-term rental and the surrounding area. Consider getting shots that show the changing seasons, the different times of day, or some exclusive amenity your rental offers. 


Besides social media, find travel forums as a way to attract more guests. International websites are best for tourism, while local forums target domestic travellers seeking new experiences. Again, having an attractive photo to add to the forum increases interest in the property.

#5 – Create special offers for guests

If you know something special is happening in the surrounding area that will drive tourism, why not play off it? Tailor products and services to match what the potential guest might be coming to do. A prime example is short-term rentals in Napa Valley — guests are offered a complimentary winery tour or a free bottle as part of the booking. 


Ask your local tourism bureau about what events are coming to town that will be a big draw. Brainstorm what special offer you can use in a promotion campaign.

#6 – Automate for efficiency

Promoting your rental takes consistency and time. A property manager can tackle marketing, or you can use vacation rental software to get more time to work on your marketing strategy. The software streamlines management by automating routine processes, giving you more time to strategically market the vacation rental. How? If you have the rental on multiple listing sites, every time you make a small change on one, you need to update the others, too. Software like iGMS syncs changes across your listing platforms to keep the information consistent everywhere. 


An added benefit of vacation rental automation is fast and efficient communication that enhances the guest experience, leading to more five-star reviews. Vacation renters heavily weight guest reviews, so the more positive remarks you generate, the better it is for your property promotion. Automation software helps you to leave reviews for your guests prompting your guests to leave their feedback.

How to promote vacation rental property

As owners know, a full calendar is a profitable calendar. Drive more interest in your vacation home with a promotion strategy. The more eyes see your vacation rental listing, the more chances it will get bookings and drive revenue.

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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